December 7, 2009

First Snow (and other great signs of the season)

As I am writing this post, we are enjoying our first snow! Henry has already been outside to shovel, he did not even make it out of his pajamas - he looked so cute in his coat, boots and PJs! Bea and I watched from the door, she loves the snow! I let her touch the snow while we were watching Henry and her little face erupted in the biggest smile as she felt coldness and then watched it melt.

This week has been a busy one for us. Last Friday was our anniversary, 5 years already! What a wonderful five years it has been - we have moved a couple of times, I have completed my Doctorate degree, John has been super busy at Deere and most importantly, we have two precious children! We are so blessed.

On Thursday morning Henry's class had the opportunity to see the play "The Toad and the Frog" at St. Ambrose. My office was closed, so I was able to chaperon!! We had so much fun. Henry got to ride the school bus again and sit in a big auditorium with all of his friends (and Mom).

On Thursday we ventured back out to Boone, IA to board the "Polar Express". We were in Boone this fall to see a real "Thomas" engine and had a great time, so we decided a trip to the North Pole via the Polar Express was in order. We boarded the train at 6 PM, Henry dressed in his pajamas, like the other children, with a blanket to snuggle in (the train was not heated)and we were off to the North Pole. The weather in Boone that night was cold and snowy, which was perfect for ride to the North Pole. After singing Happy Birthday for all of the December birthdays, which are often overlooked,the volunteer elf read us Christmas stories, which included the Polar Express, of course, and we sang various Christmas carols. Finally, we arrived at the North Pole. It was decorated with tons of lights and looked magical. Santa was there to greet us and had a silver jingle bell for each child - you can guess what song we sang the entire ride home. After hot chocolate and cookies on train ride back to Boone, we headed home to Bettendorf. What a night it was, to the North Pole and back - we told Henry it was a high speed train.

On Saturday Henry had two birthday parties!! The first was for a little girl in his class. It was at a new jump house facility in Davenport called Monkey Joes. After two hours of running, jumping, and playing we headed home to prepare for Henry's party later that evening. We celebrated a little early because of John's schedule at work. We had a mixed theme this year, a little Scooby Doo, a little Transformers, and a little Star Wars - it all made for a great time. Henry asked me at the end of the night "Mommy, am I 4 now?". He is so sweet, I cannot believe he is 4 already, my how time flies. Everyone had a great time, Bea just loves Henry's new "Shake n' Go" race track, she looks so cute watching those cars race.

On Sunday we had lunch with Santa. This is the first year Henry was not afraid to sit on the big guy's lap. Bea was also very brave, as long as her big brother was near. Henry asked Santa for Transformer and also asked him to bring Bea a baby toy, which was very thoughtful. After our visit with Santa and lunch, we stayed for Christmas stories, crafts and play time with friends. The story teller also made balloon animals and toys, which led to the biggest balloon sword fight ever! Henry was exhausted when we got home - he went right to his room for a nap!

For all of our friends traveling this season, be safe! Enjoy the various photos below.

November 16, 2009

Day to Day Stuff

Halloween has come and gone and now we are preparing for Thanksgiving, A Big Birthday, and Christmas. We are so excited for this holiday season, Henry is understanding the concept of Santa, Jesus, and turning 4!! He is already telling people he is 4, which is believable because he is so tall!! We are also excited to celebrate Bea's first Christmas!!

We have been enjoying the wonderful fall weather. It has given us the opportunity to play outside a lot this fall and take frequent trips to the park. We have new neighbors, so there are a few more children to play with - which is great for Henry, even if they are all girls!

John and I are staying busy with work and day to day stuff. The time goes by so quickly, it is hard to keep up with the little things (like blogging). Bea is awesome. She enjoys watching her brother play and tagging along to all of his activities.

Halloween was a big success, Henry was a skeleton and Bea was a strawberry. We went to a great Halloween party a week before Halloween which included dancing, spooky stories, lots of food and a hayrack ride!! Henry also had a great party at school, so he was well practiced for the big night. Since Henry does not like candy, the "Treat" part of Halloween did not appeal to him, but he enjoyed running and playing with the other children. Bea stayed at home with Nana and handed out candy, where it was warm. She enjoyed seeing all of kids come to her door.

We are about to start Henry's birthday marathon. Stay tuned for updates.

October 22, 2009

Pumpkin Patch, Imagination Movers!!!

One of my favorite things about the fall is taking the kids to a pumpkin patch. Last year I think my Mom and I took Henry to at least five. Even though the weather has not been nearly as cooperative this year, we did visit a really great one in Alpha, IL. Henry's class has a field trip there next week and I thought we should preview it, especially since I am chaperoning. It was darling!!! Henry had a great time running through the corn maze - even though it was a really big, extremely difficult corn maze, playing in the playground, and enjoying all of the country fun. Bea had a great time as well, there were plenty of kids to look at. We look forward to going again next week, and the best part is we will be riding a school bus!!!

Last night we took Henry to see the Imagination Movers. Henry had so much fun! He sang, danced in the isles and ate popcorn. He even got to shake Mover Rich's hand, what a thrill. I think John and I enjoyed it more than Henry, it was so great to see him sing and dance, I should have brought a video camera. Bea had a great girls' night with Nana.

My Pumpkin at the Pumpkin Patch

Another Pumpkin at the Pumpkin Patch, did I mention it was super cold and windy that day?

Mover Rich!!

Henry and Mommy before the show.

Imagination Movers

October 7, 2009

Busy Busy Busy

The past few weeks have been busy at the Archer house. It is funny, when people ask John and me what we miss about Germany, we always answer, "the lifestyle". People in the U.S. are busy busy busy, almost frantic. Anyway, we have managed to fit in some fun activities during the few weeks.

First, we continued birthday celebrations. Bea turned 6 months old on the 24th, so we had a little party for her and even though she couldn't indulge in her "birthday cookie", she had fun!! Next, Carolyn had another party. Her birthday has gone on for weeks, as it should when you turn 9. Henry is so excited that his birthday is next!!

Last week, we surprised Henry with a visit to the Bettendorf Police and Fire Department!! He got to meet firefighters, police officers, dispatchers and tour the entire department. The highlight of the visit was sitting in the vehicles and making the lights and sirens work. Everyone was so sweet to Henry, he enjoyed the tour so much. Bea was a little less impressed, although she did enjoy the light show Henry put on while sitting in the police car and fire truck.

And last, but certainly not least, we have been enjoying the awesome fall weather!! We were putting out our fall decorations this weekend and Henry asked me, "Mom, are we making Halloween?".

As always, my Dad planted corn, pumpkins and gourds for the kids to pick. Most were ready to harvest this weekend, so the kids went to it!! They got a entire wagon full of fun gourds and pumpkins.

When you ask Henry what he wants to be when he grows up, he says, "a firefighter, farmer, and train guy", I think we have fit all of those things in the last month. Hopefully he won't decide to be something crazy in the future, like a snake charmer - not even this Mom will fulfill that wish.

You can take the boy out of Germany...

Our Harvest

Will working hard!!

Joshy and Papa


Henry found a big one!

Bettendorf Police Department

Fireman Henry
Bea went too!
Papa and Nana and their crew!
Bea's 6 month birthday!
Happy Birthday Bea!!

September 21, 2009

Thomas 2009!

This past weekend John, Henry, and I ventured out to Boone, IA to see a real life Thomas the train engine! Bea enjoyed the weekend at Papa and Nana's, she rarely gets them all to herself.

After a quick trip through the mall in Des Moines, we checked into our hotel. It was quite busy - they were hosting three wedding receptions that day and had several girls soccer teams in house. We became acquainted with some of the soccer players at the pool. Henry tried so hard to be part of their games and fun, but had to settle for watching the many "chicken fights" from the side of the pool.

After breakfast the next morning we drove to Boone, which is only about 45 minutes from Des Moines. It is a darling little town that has a pretty busy little train depot. There was plenty to do besides ride the train, which was suppose to be the main attraction. Henry enjoyed running through the hay maze, bouncing in the bounce house, playing with the largest train table I have ever seen, meeting Sir Topham Hatt, and finally having Thomas take us on a train ride. ALL ABOARD!!

After a teary goodbye to Thomas and Boone, IA, we drove home. Henry was asleep before we got on the interstate and slept the entire way home. We were excited to get Bea. She had a great weekend as well. Just like her cousin Carolyn, I think she is a dog lover, if she could talk I think she would ask for a puppy.

September 13, 2009

It has been awhile!!

It has been a while since my last blog entry, I really have no excuses! The kids are doing great. Henry still loves his school and Bea is so happy with her new babysitter. John and I are keeping busy with kids, still unpacking random boxes that constantly appear out of no where and of course, there is always work. I am happy to report I love my new job. Everyone there is so nice and rheumatology (like all autoimmune diseases) is super interesting. I did get an opportunity to visit my old job this week, it did make me miss life in the hospital for a minute, but being home with the kids is a priority right now. John is still busy at Deere and was recently elected to the school board!

September has not only been a busy month, but also a fun one. We celebrated my Dad's and Carolyn's birthdays, went to the circus last weekend and today Henry had a birthday party to go to. It was the first party he was invited to by himself, without John or I to supervise,so we were a little nervous. He did great. I suppose this will be the first of many to come - he is growing up so fast!

The final finishes were put in the basement last week, so I am happy to report it is officially complete! We are really enjoying it. Henry has a place to spread out all of his toys and be as loud as wants, which is pretty loud sometimes. We also have some new neighbors. The neighborhood is a little less quiet now and Henry has some new friends to play with - even if they are all girls! There will be two more families moving in this month, we are really looking forward to it.

Bea is doing great. She loves her big brother, he can always make her smile. Soon she will be 6 months old!!

Next weekend we will be heading to Boone, IA to visit a "real life" Thomas the train engine. I will take lots of pictures to post. Below are a few pictures from the circus and birthday party, as you can see from the photo, Henry really enjoyed the popcorn at the circus.

Until next time...

Will and Bea

Joshy and Carolyn at the circus

Papa and Carolyn's birthday

I think the popcorn is gone!

The circus

August 20, 2009

New School, New Job - Whew!!

I have neglected my blog the last couple of weeks for good reasons - we have been busy (and John has been out of town)! Henry started a new school a couple of weeks ago and I am so relieved to say that he really likes it. I was a bit apprehensive about it because he enjoyed his last school in Heidelberg so much and requested to go back there on several occasions, but he made friends the first day at his new school and hasn't looked back. Bea also started at a babysitter a couple of days a week. Henry used to go to her last year and she was anxious to have Bea with her. Like Henry, Bea is is also very happy with her new surroundings. Finally, I started a new job this week. I am working two and a half days a week in a rheumatology office. Honestly, I was extremely nervous before I started, but now that I have a couple of days in, it already feels like home. So, I think everyone is where they need to be and we can finally take a deep breath and relax for a while!

Henry on his first day of school.

We have managed to fit in a little fun. Carolyn, our niece, visited last week and we enjoyed doing several things with her. She and I saw a movie, got a pedicure, painted at a local pottery store, went shopping with Nana, and had a cookout and campfire at Papa's place on the river. There was also a little carnival in town, so we enjoyed a few rides and games as well. Henry was really disappointed when she went home, as were we.

Henry walking Booker.

As for our Beatrice, she will be 5 months next week!! Her little personality is so sweet and she could not be any more beautiful!!

Henry at the river